D.C. Resident Refuses to be Slowed by Cancer, Amputation

Though her genes caused breast cancer and a medical tragedy led to her becoming an amputee, nothing has stopped Donna Hopkins from living life to the fullest.

Now, the District resident has released a new book that speaks volumes about her incredible journey of perseverance and positivity.

The autobiography, “Getting to the Other Side of Victory,” details Hopkins’ battle, one in which she’s met head on and has drawn inspiration from being an athlete, a fighter and, most of all, a believer in keeping everything in perspective and being positive.

“When I went through the unforeseeable medical disaster of twice surviving cancer, a fibroid tumor and almost losing my life a few times, and then the amputation of my leg, [it] was tough,” Hopkins said. “I walked into the hospital and told my friends that it would be my last walk for a minute, not thinking anything was wrong. Little did I know it would really be my last walk for a minute.”

Doctors had given Hopkins a blood thinner which, ironically, caused her blood to clot. Then a staph infection was discovered which led to Hopkins being transferred to another hospital — a move she said probably saved her life.

Ultimately the cancer had been discovered and she’d eventually have her leg amputated and undergo a hysterectomy.

“Anything you deal with in life is tough,” Hopkins said. “I went through an unforeseeable medical disaster, twice surviving cancer but I decided that sometimes you go through things not just for yourself but for onlookers and I’m a fighter, a competitor and I don’t like to lose.”

As noted in her biography, despite having to fight multiple life-threatening battles, Hopkins has a strikingly positive attitude that resonates with everyone she meets.

In her new book, due out in time for Black History Month, Hopkins describes her experience and shares her guide to “living life to the fullest” and the importance of having a positive outlook on life, finding a purpose and her faith.

“It’s OK to cry about your circumstances, the devastation, destruction, and adversity sometimes,” she said. “The important thing is to know that you are stronger than any pain that you must go through; tap into that hidden strength and find what lies at the bottom of your heart and beats life back into you.”

The book encourages readers to tap into their “hidden strengths.”

The founder and CEO of the nonprofit Hopkins Breast Cancer, Inc., Hopkins also counts as a public speaker, problem solver, sports personality and a beacon of positivity.

“I understand why I’m as involved and why I have great passion and have always used sports to get me through no matter what life presented,” she said. “I played college basketball, ran track and you just have to find out what it is that gets you to the other side of victory and that’s the reason that I wrote this book.”

Hopkins advises not to get stuck wasting time and lamenting a problem or issue that’s in the past.

“It’s a process to getting to the other side of victory, just don’t get stuck,” she said. “So many times we waste time in life by saying, ‘I’m going to do this later, I don’t have money.’ Now, I look at life and I’m going on vacation every year. The amputation of my leg and the fact that I almost lost both hands taught me a lesson about living each day as if it is my last.”

The book is available at and other booksellers, or at

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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